I love it when a plan comes together, especially when the plan involves some of my favorite things. Just as I'm working on trying to keep my to-do lists all in one place, I stumble across the perfect tool.
I was browsing at my local Borders, checking out the 50% off calendars, trying to keep my promise to myself not to buy any more books until I finish reading some of the ones that are stacked up at home, waiting to be read. While enjoying two of my favorite things (books/paper products and a good sale), I found the most marvelous page-a-day calendar. It was labeled the Busy Dad's Page-A-Day Notepad calendar, but that didn't deter me. I'm busy, so I met 50% of the requirement, which seemed sufficient for a 50% off clearance sale.
Each page has a column of little tidbits: a word of the day (what writer wouldn't love that?), a quote of the day (I'm liking this even more), some fun facts of the day, including famous people born on that day, and something at the bottom just for fun. Best of all, most of the space on each page on this oversized calendar consists of a to-do list, with little red squares beside each item, ripe for checkmarks once the task is completed.
I bought the calendar, still lacking faith in my ability to commit to using it, but hoping that plunking down some cold, hard cash for a cool, new place for my to do list would serve as a sort of inspiration. I brought it to school, gave it a place of honor beside my computer, and voila!
A miracle happened. I started to use it. Every day.
My to-do list is all in one place, on my new calendar. I check it every morning. Sometimes, I transfer the undone items to the new day. Other days, I simply cut and paste, quite literally. On the days that I get sick of seeing the same things repeated over and over, I know just what I have to do. I tackle them, if for no other reason than to get them off the list.
I have tried other plans. Many other plans. Post it notes have littered my desk. Notebooks were neater, but when I filled the page and turned it, undone items were left behind on the previous pages, silently haunting me, pleading with me to transfer them to the new page so they wouldn't be forgotten. Single sheets of paper, oversized calendars and loose-leaf sheets have gone by teh wayside. There's something about a fresh sheet of paper each day on a notepad that has its own home that just invites me to use it.
I'm making progress, and I have tangible proof! I don't know what I'm going to do when I have a to-do list that's longer than the page in front of me. I guess I'll just have to break out the Post-It notes and stick them to the top of the page so it's still all on one page, but to this point, that hasn't been an issue. To this point, this plan is working rather well,even if I'm not a Busy Dad.
I remember reading that it takes a minimum of 21 days to develop a new habit. I've had my calendar at school for nine days. Almost to the halfway point of a new habit, I'm already making plans to reserve my 2011 calendar.